Mean is bad. Kind is good.

In the last few days there have been two tragic stories of bullying and suicide that have been particularly hard to swallow (not that any are easy). Two young girls (10 and 13 years old), both hung themselves after being relentlessly bullied at school. Where does the system break down so completely that we adults can’t stop such things from happening? ¬†Statistics show that 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year. ONE IN THREE. That is insanity. I started looking at the statistics about bullying and cyberbullying and the information is staggering. When I was a teacher there was absolutely NO BULLYING allowed in my classroom. We had three simple rules on the wall. Take Responsibility for your actions. Tell the truth. Be kind. To be honest with you, for the ten years that I taught, I was less concerned about the ABC’s and more concerned about my students becoming good people. I saw it as my responsibility to make them better human beings. Here is the thing…kids can be mean. Really mean. But that’s no excuse. They don’t have to be. Unless children are taught that it’s not acceptable to be mean, they will keep doing it. Parents, teachers and pretty much every adult that they have contact with has to be consistent in their message. Mean is bad. Kind is good. Unfortunately lots of adults are unkind…and the world we currently live in isn’t helping the situation. Being taught from a young age that kindness is always the answer would change the world we live in. That’s why I am dedicated to putting the #imkinderthanthat message out into the world. Teaching kids (and reminding adults) that you have a choice in how you treat people and how you react to a situation is such an important lesson to learn…and relearn over and over again. As my 6 year old niece Avery says, “Being kind makes you feel like a princess and being mean makes you feel like a bad witch”. We should all strive to be a princess (or prince).